Managing a Bleeding Disorder During a Pandemic
As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the bleeding disorders community understandably has many questions about the disease’s specific effects on people with bleeding disorders. Below are answers to some of the most common questions and concerns.
Does having a bleeding disorder mean I’m at a higher risk for contracting coronavirus?
Having a bleeding disorder does not make one more susceptible to any viral infection, including COVID-19. However, as in the general population, some segments of the bleeding disorders community are at higher risk for severe disease. These include older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions in addition to their bleeding disorder, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, liver disease, high blood pressure and asthma. Contact your healthcare team to discuss any specific health-related concerns you may have.
In terms of limiting one’s exposure to COVID-19, people with bleeding disorders should follow the same recommendations as the rest of the public: regular hand-washing with soap, sheltering in place, practicing social distancing and using a mask or other face covering at those times when it’s necessary to go outside the home.
If I get COVID-19, will it make me more susceptible to bleeds?
At this time, it is not believed that COVID-19 causes people to have more bleeds than normal. However, in cases where the virus leads to severe coughing there is an increased concern for head bleeds as well as throat and lung bleeds, all of which are potentially fatal and require immediate medical attention.
If you do contract COVID-19, contact your HTC or your hematologist so physicians treating you for the virus can coordinate your care closely with those who treat your bleeding disorder.
Should I make any changes to my treatment regimen, and should I have a greater than normal supply of my bleeding disorder medications on hand during this crisis?
At this time, experts recommend following your regular treatment plan as prescribed by your healthcare providers. For people who treat at home, NHF’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Council recommends having a 14-day supply of factor products available at all times during times of crisis, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What should I do if I need to go to the ER to treat a bleed, a suspected port infection or another problem?
As in more normal times, do not ignore serious concerns related to your bleeding disorder. If you need to go to the ER for treatment, do so. However, be sure to call in advance so staff there is aware you are coming in and the reasons why. This advance notice allows the ER staff to prepare to help you in the safest, most effective and efficient way possible.
I have an upcoming appointment at my HTC or with my hematologist, should I go?
Call ahead before showing up at the HTC or clinic. Staff at the HTC or provider’s office will advise you on how to proceed if an in-person visit is deemed necessary. Many HTCs and healthcare providers are conducting telehealth visits. This means you can have your appointment remotely from home using your smartphone, tablet or computer. Check with your HTC or doctor’s office to see if this is an option for you.
Where can I go to get the most reliable and current information and resources on bleeding disorders and COVID-19?
Visit NHF’s COVID-19 Information hub on its website for news, replays of NHF’s COVID-19 Town Hall Webinars and important updates from NHF CEO Leonard Valentino, MD.
In addition, visit Hemophilia Federation of America’s COVID-19 Resources page and the World Federation of Hemophilia’s COVID-19 WFH Announcements and Statements.